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OAQ

Occasionally Asked Questions

What are your beliefs?
Where do we start?   Jesus, of course!  We unreservedly say this: the only conclusion we can draw from the facts about Jesus of Nazareth is that he is this world’s only hope, the one who came from heaven to show us the way to heaven, who came from God to show us God, who died for us so we would live for him, who rose from the grave to confirm for all time that he is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the living God. 

Furthermore, we are convinced that scripture (that is, The Bible) is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in right-living.  That is, we believe the scriptures are a revelation of God's message to humankind, and that the message which Jesus Christ sent his apostles out to teach everyone everywhere is the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the teaching to which we should continually devote ourselves [Acts 2:42; Romans 6:17; 2 Peter 1:2-3,15; Jude 3].

Any of our beliefs flow from that starting point.  If Jesus said it, we believe it.  If God's word says it, we believe it.  We know there are systems of doctrine which people have developed over the centuries since, but any human doctrine or creed will inevitably fall short of what God's Spirit has revealed to us in scripture, so we are not wedded to any such doctrine or creed.  "God has spoken", and we want to stick with what God has said.

How are you different to other churches? 
There are lots of churches out there, and they differ from each other widely, so how we are different to others depends on which church you're comparing us to.  Some noticeable differences are:
  • We are not part of any denomination, for we don't see anything in scripture supporting the existence of denominations.  Jesus built his church [Matthew 16:18] and nobody could better that, so that's all we want to be a part of.
  • We don't actually have a name, because in the scriptures we see Christ's church didn't.  They most often just call it "the church", but there's a range of other descriptions used as well, and we're happy to call ourselves any of them.  "Church of Christ" is another way of saying "Christ's church", and since we're content to simply be that, we use that description on things like this site.  We say a bit more about that here
  • We don't have a clergy/laity divide or a "pastor system".  Scripture says that all members are priests [1 Peter 2:5,9] so we actually don't have any laity!  And "pastor" is just an old word for shepherd, and that's what elders do in a congregation.  They shepherd the flock, and they're called shepherds; so scripturally speaking, the elders in a congregation are the "pastors".  [See 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28]
  • We don't have a written creed or "statement of faith" other than the apostles' teaching.  History shows that when you draw up a statement of faith, you start defending that, rather than the faith itself; and people start squabbling over whose statement of faith is better.  The perfect statement of faith would say exactly what the scriptures say...so why not just use the scriptures?  They are what give us wisdom so that we can be saved through faith in Christ Jesus [2 Timothy 3:15].  No humanly authored "statement of faith" can do that.
  • We try to avoid adding to or taking away from what God has told us to do, and consequently people notice that what we do is pure and simple, without embellishments.  We just do what God tells us to do, because we love him and trust him.  [John 14:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:4; 1 John 5:3; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Deut 5:32; Hebrews 5:9; Romans 1:5; 6:17-18...etc. etc...]
  • Therefore our assemblies are not shows, or anything elaborate.  We're not in the entertainment business; we're here to please God, not our own whims and wishes.  That's a difference people notice about us.
  • Another difference Sunday visitors have commented on is that we share the Lord's Supper every Sunday.  We're told this is not very common, but we're just following what we read in the New Testament scriptures: "On the first day of the week...the disciples came together to break bread" [Acts 20:7].

Are you a charismatic church?
In the biblical sense, yes, for the scriptures teach that each member of the body has gifts [charismata — Romans 12:6-8].  But if you mean in the "pentecostal" sense, no.  "Pentecostal" isn't a word found in scripture anyway, so we don't see why we would use the term.  (Some of us are ex-pentecostal, but everyone's ex-something, aren't they?)

Where do you meet?
Most of our gatherings happen in homes, and they are spread from the bay to east of Cranbourne.  On Sundays (when we're not in lockdown or lockout) we usually meet at 10am in Carrum Hall, which is just off Dyson Road, near the corner of Walkers Road, Carrum.  In times like these, this is subject to change at quite short notice, so it's best to check with us first.

Speaking of lockouts, how are you handling the restrictions imposed by the government? 
God instructs us, as members in the body of Christ, "that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another".  We are to accept one another, love one another, and bear one another's burdens.  But if we followed the government's requirement to shut out (or "lockout") some of our members, that would be going against what God has said.  Scripture explicitly says, "We must obey God rather than men"; therefore we will not be segregated according to criteria set by any earthly government.  So if we can't all do it, we won't do it.  And when we are all allowed meet in the hall, we will meet in the hall.